For an average Indian biker fuel efficiency is one of most important factor while buying or running a motorcycle. In this story, let us present some key factors that affect bike’s fuel efficiency.
Factors That Affect Bike’s Fuel Efficiency
Aerodynamics: Aerodynamics is concerned with motion in air. The more easily a motorcycle cuts through air, the easier it will be for its engine to move ahead. This is precisely the reason why aerodynamically better engineered motorcycles are faster and also consume relatively lesser fuel.
Tyres: Oversized and wider tyres increase drag and reduce the fuel efficiency of bikes.
Gear Changes: This is probably one of the biggest dependency of motorcycles. The more you change gears during a ride, the more the fuel it will drink. On the other hand, if you frequently continue to drag a motorcycle in higher gears (so much so that it starts gasping) it will also not be very fuel efficient. Hence, it is always advisable to ride your motorcycle in appropriate gear based on the situation it is in.
Weight: Unnecessary accessories like excessively heavy crash guards, enveloping guards on scooters, oversize horns all add to the weight and consequently reduce fuel efficiency. On a 120 kg bike even a 5-8 kg increase will have an adverse effect on fuel consumption.
Fuel: Always try to tank up your motorcycle in the morning. The reason is that liquids have a tendency to expand with increase in temperature. Since during morning hours, temperatures are generally low, you get (slightly) more fuel as compared to filling during day time when it gets hotter.
Cleanliness: Any leaks will be immediately noticeable on a clean bike. Dirt on the chain, in between moving parts etc will also increase drag and consequently lower fuel efficiency.
Quality of Fuel: Check the owners manual on what quality of petrol your bike requires. Use fuel with the recommended or higher octane number. Also, ensure you fill petrol/diesel from a trusted petrol tank. Tank up from a well know fuelling stations where quality and quantity are assured..
Tanking Up: Do not tank up right to the brim. Not only is there a chance of spillage while filling up (and riding), petrol also expands with heat and can overflow. Filler caps on many bikes do leak once the rubber seal hardens and cracks.
Other Quick Tips to Improve Mileage
- Get your motorcycle serviced regularly. Healthier a motorcycle and its engine, higher the fuel efficiency it will return.
- Always ensure you use the recommended grade of engine oil in your motorcycle.
- Run your two-wheeler with the recommended air pressure. Lower air pressure increases friction and hence harder it will be for your engine to rotate the tyre.
- Ride at optimum speeds and avoid sudden jerks to the accelerator ie be linear in accelerating your motorcycle or scooter. Smoothness is the key, in acceleration, in braking and in maintaining speed which will deliver the best mileage.
- Plan overtaking moves well in advance so that you don’t have to brake nor accelerate hard to pass a vehicle.
- Reduce speed by easing off the throttle rather than by using the brakes.
- Switch off your motorcycle’s engine when the idle time is more than 30 seconds. This helps in saving fuel. Few companies are offering idle start-stop systems in their motorcycles and scooters which automatically shut the engine down if the wait time is for a particular instant. The engine, in this case, comes to life by a simple twist of the throttle.
- Try and park your vehicle under shade to prevent evaporation of fuel.
- Do not fill for very small amounts like Rs 20/40. This is because a lot of your fuel vaporises specially during summers and if this is your habit than you will end up losing a lot in the longer run.